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2012 11 sep different is better

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Ioan Muntean
Indiana University-Purdue University,
                          Fort Wayne
                 http://imuntean.net



                                        1
Science and metaphysics, again
 The relation between the “new analytic metaphysics”
  and contemporary science
 Several approaches:
   Historical approach
   “Division of labor” approach
   The new scientism (Maudlin, Ladyman, Van Fraassen)
   Similarities (LA Paul, P. Godfrey-Smith)
   Differences (Ladyman, Maudlin, present paper)




                                                         2
Aims of this project
 Focus on differences, not on similarities
 Metaphysical modality is essentially different than
  scientific modality
 At the core, there is a difference in representation and
  “theory” choice, albeit the language is similar
 Differences are as useful as analogies and help the
  advancement of metaphysics.
 It is an argument in metaphysics methodology and its
  resemblance to scientific methodology

                                                             3
What is the “new metaphysics”?
 Chronologically, comes after Naming and Necessity
 Conceptually, originates in Lewis, Armstrong
 The new systematic metaphysics orients itself towards
  modality and existence
 The new analytic metaphysics is not centered on ordinary
  language, but on the practice of philosophy itself
 A “newer new analytic metaphysics” is at the horizon:
   Grounding (Schaffer)
   Fundamentalism
   Back to language? Sider
   Meta-metaphysic-sy projects

                                                             4
Strong antinaturalism
 Metaphysics      Science


   The necessary




                      The actual

    The possible




                                   5
Weak antinaturalism: overlapping
              The possible


              The actual



                The
              necessary




                                   6

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2012 11 sep different is better

  • 1. Ioan Muntean Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne http://imuntean.net 1
  • 2. Science and metaphysics, again  The relation between the “new analytic metaphysics” and contemporary science  Several approaches:  Historical approach  “Division of labor” approach  The new scientism (Maudlin, Ladyman, Van Fraassen)  Similarities (LA Paul, P. Godfrey-Smith)  Differences (Ladyman, Maudlin, present paper) 2
  • 3. Aims of this project  Focus on differences, not on similarities  Metaphysical modality is essentially different than scientific modality  At the core, there is a difference in representation and “theory” choice, albeit the language is similar  Differences are as useful as analogies and help the advancement of metaphysics.  It is an argument in metaphysics methodology and its resemblance to scientific methodology 3
  • 4. What is the “new metaphysics”?  Chronologically, comes after Naming and Necessity  Conceptually, originates in Lewis, Armstrong  The new systematic metaphysics orients itself towards modality and existence  The new analytic metaphysics is not centered on ordinary language, but on the practice of philosophy itself  A “newer new analytic metaphysics” is at the horizon:  Grounding (Schaffer)  Fundamentalism  Back to language? Sider  Meta-metaphysic-sy projects 4
  • 5. Strong antinaturalism  Metaphysics Science The necessary The actual The possible 5
  • 6. Weak antinaturalism: overlapping The possible The actual The necessary 6
  • 7. Division of Labor  Division of Labor: metaphysics charts the domain of objective possibility through reason; science explores actual reality through empirical methods.  “Metaphysics deals in possibilities’’(E. J. Lowe)  C. Callender (about the division of labor): “… whereas scientists excavate dusty field sites and mix potions in laboratories to tell us which states of affairs are actual, metaphysicians are concerned with what is and isn’t metaphysically possible.”  “Metaphysics is after something bigger and more abstract, the structure of metaphysical modality. What it investigates can tell us about the actual world, but only ‘incidentally’ because the actual world is one possible world of many”  Modal truth is different than truth based on evidence 7
  • 8. Old fashioned scientism  Russell: make philosophy look more “exact”  Make it look like mathematics or science.  Modality and certainty:  “Philosophy diminishes our feeling of certainty as to what things are, but greatly increases our knowledge as to what they may be”. Russell 8
  • 9. The new scientism  New scientism: In the light of contemporary theories in physics, metaphysicians need to reform their fundamental ontology.  Van Fraassen, Ladyman&Ross&Spurrett, Maudlin  Science is not only a supply of counterexamples to metaphysics  But the source of change and progress in metaphysics 9
  • 10. Some reconciliatory projects A. Do not aim to reform metaphysics, but inform it scientifically: French, Callender: “metaphysics is best when informed by good science, and science is best when informed by good metaphysics”; B. (Re)situate metaphysics in meta-science C. Find similarities between science and metaphysics D. Find differences and show they are central to both science and metaphysics E. (Re)situate science in meta-metaphysics I argue here that D and E are more attractive than C B. is well-explored in the philosophy of science (Friedman) A. is vague 10
  • 11. A. Informing metaphysics  Metaphysical statements can be tested by science (Hawley, 2005)  Metaphysics is underdetermined by sciences (French, 2009) 11
  • 12. B. Metaphysics and meta-science  Metaphysics is meta-science  Friedman: “the philosophical articulation of what we might call metaparadigms or meta-frameworks for revolutionary science capable of motivating and sustaining the transition to a new scientific paradigm.’’ 12
  • 13. C. Similarity Some similarities. They may share: I. their subject-matter: the mind-independent reality II. (some) ideals: simplicity, unification, expressibility, symmetry, etc. III. (some) methods: IBE, modeling (LA Paul, P. Godfrey-Smith) IV. (some) concepts: causation, laws, necessity, possibility, structure, realism The “strong resemblance” view: keep I (perhaps, partially, II-IV) “Weak resemblance view”: reject I, but accept II, III or IV and other combinations I focus here on a weak resemblance view that keeps III and IV 13
  • 14. I. The science-metaphysics continuum  For Humeans, metaphysics and science are part of the “best systematization of the world” (Callender)  “we can treat metaphysical claims as parts of the Best Theory that are more abstract and distantly related to experiment than the bulk of the theory, that is, science.” (Callender 2011 47)  Callender: modalities are not independent of scientific modalities 14
  • 15. II. Scientific theories and metaphysical doctrines  They try to explain and unify  They aim to simplicity  They explain (Sider 2009); metaphysicians even use the inference to the best explanation for genuine modal realism (Shalkowski 2010)  They both use underdetermination (but this is controversial in metaphysics, Ladyman 2012) 15
  • 16. III. Modeling in science and metaphysics  metaphysics and science share the same method, (but not the same subject matter)  They both build models: LA Paul, P. Godfrey-Smith  They use confirmation: ordinary experience plays the role of experimental data in metaphysics 16
  • 17. Models in science  The simplified view: (P. Godfrey Smith, St French&Costa)  a model is a set of objects and relations among them  They act as interpreting structures for a mathematical theory  A theory is true when there is an partial or total isomorphism between the model and the world  Models uses abstracts and idealization:  In building models, scientists ignore aspects of the world and structures of the theory.  Scientists do incorporate false statements in their models 17
  • 18. Modeling in metaphysics  “metaphysical methods used to make claims about the world can be similar to scientific methods used to make claims about the world, but that the subjects of metaphysics are not the subjects of science” Paul 2012  metaphysical doctrines = models or classes of models  “a class of models, where the models are composed of logical, modal and other relations relating variables that represent n-adic properties, objects, and other entities” LA Paul 2012  idealization and abstraction are important . 18
  • 19. Idealization and abstraction  abstraction and idealization are used in theory- building in metaphysics.  Exemple: Idealization in the metaphysics of causation (when ignoring non-relevant causes). 19
  • 20. Modality and “testing” in metaphysics  1. Test a theory by considering the actual world or close possible worlds with fictional, physically possible situations.  2 Look for possible worlds that contradict the theory. Are there such possible worlds? 20
  • 21. Ideal in metaphysics (Godfrey Smith 2012)  Project 1: describe the language and our thinking  Project 2: describe a part of the world  Project 3: relate project 1 and 2.  Project 4: correct project 1 based on alternatives. 21
  • 22. Features of metaphysical modality  Robustness: are there results robust across various possible models? P. G-Smith: happens in metaphysical modeling. I disagree  Tractability. In metaphysical model? I do not see it that way P. Godfrey-Smith 22
  • 23. IV Concept-similarity in science and metaphysics  Causation is similar in science and metaphysics (but it is in itself problematic)  Structures are used in metaphysics, science, mathematics is a pretty uniform way  Laws of nature are less similar, but still you can see them on a continuum  Mereological concepts are even more different: parthood, recombination, com-possibility, composition, constitution  What about “possibility” as used in science and metaphysics?  I show they are not similar at all, despite what is in general suggested  Many scientists embrace uncritically the concept of possibility from metaphysics  Metaphysicians dismiss any modal attempt coming from science 23
  • 24. D. Differences in modeling  How much the theory involves the unobservable, the indirectly confirmable, and the abstract;  “and in how many different, competing models may maximize the theoretical virtues while doing an adequate job of saving the phenomena.” Paul 2012  More theories to choose in metaphysics than in science. Scientific models are constrained empirically. 24
  • 25. IV. modalities  I argue that a different concept of modality is at work in metaphysical modeling than in scientific modeling  Despite appearances, different modal concepts are at work in scientific modeling and modeling in metaphyscs 25
  • 26. Modality in physics  Does quantum mechanics (Everettians) presuposes a different modalities than the standard metaphysics?  Physical modalities are different than metaphysical modalities, so we’re back to the “division of labor”.  There is a new sense of modality in Everettian QM  Symmetries do act as limitations of modality.  Path integral as well as principle of least action are related to modality (Butterfield)  The multiverse modality is altogether another story. 26
  • 27. Modality in metaphysical modeling  Causation: causal talk depends on contrasts between what actually occurs and the ‘‘normal’’ course of events (Hitchcock and Knobe 2009)  Philosophy uses fiction and the imagination, thought- experiments and imaginary cases  If a metaphysical model uses fictional entities and imaginative situations, thought experiments and suchlike, it uses modality  But is this similar enough to modality used in scientific models? 27
  • 28. Structure and world in scientific modality  Structure limits possibility  The world also is a limit of the scientific possibility 28
  • 29. Fictions  Fictional entities in science are constrained by (a) a theoretical structure, and (b) the structure of the world  Fictional entities in metaphysics are constrained by conceivability.  This is a major difference. 29
  • 30. Abstractions and idealizations  I argue they are fundamentally different in science and metaphysics.  The mathematical structure needed in a theory does not exist 30
  • 31. Caveats  Perhaps models in science are more autonomous than stated here  Perhaps a theoretical structure is not needed (be it mathematical or not).  Why models? Perhaps a more syntactic-view friendly approach would find more similarities between the two modalities.  Perhaps mathematical models are missing from the picture. Put back mathematics where it belongs.  Perhaps logical models? 31
  • 32. Unintended consequences  I may need to decouple possibility from necessity.  Metaphysical possibility is dual to metaphysical necessity.  Scientific possibility (as used in modeling) is not couple to scientific necessity (be it laws of nature, regularities, generalizations. 32
  • 33. Conclusion  Different modality concepts are fruitful in metaphysics  Can instigate new research directions within metaphysics 33